ART/WNY Presents THE RAIN DOGS PROJECTTom Waits has been painting an Americana landscape with his music over the past three decades. Much of his lyrics weave fictional individuals through nonfictional settings in the same "dirty reality" style American short-story writer Raymond Carver and poet Charles Bukowski displayed in their works. The characters, the lives they lead, the dialogs, the monologs all within Waits vast encyclopedia of songs lend themselves to a theatrical setting where all are could be brought to life.

American Repertory Theater of WNY will conclude the 2017-18 season with the presentation of THE RAIN DOGS PROJECT. This production utilizes the talents of regional playwrights in a forum that combines their one-act works with the music of this legendary cabaret/carnival barker. Basing their works on Waits' "dirty reality" scenery, these pieces are coordinated with music composed from his vast encyclopedia. This joint collaboration between live music excerpts and Waits lyrics brought to life creates a La Ronde "feel" as characters intercept one another along the Project's journey. Featured playwrights include John F Kennedy's FUNERAL WATER, Matthew LaChiusa's IT'S COLD AND THERE'S NO MUSIC/LUCE, Ross McFarlane's CLOSING TIME, James Marzo's JERSEY GIRL, and Bella Poynton's WHAT'S HE BUILDING.

Inspired by Tom Waits album "Real Gone" and channeling the weaving word imagery found in the cut "Circus", local playwright John F Kennedy, in dealing with a loss close to him, crafted his monolog "Funeral Water". Actor Candice Kogut brilliantly navigates this piece with a clear understanding of Kennedy's salute to Waits' poetry.

Although folks believe that the recording of "Jersey Girl" on the b-side of Bruce Springsteen's 1984 hit "Cover Me" was written by The Boss, the brilliance as a songwriter shows as Tom Waits composed this song in 1980 as part of the classic album "Heartattack and Vine". Inspired by this blue-collar song, local playwright James Marzo captures the longing of a lonely soul being in love with a bartender holed-up in a divebar. Featuring Jack Kreuzer and Candice Kogut and directed by Catherine Burkhart, in his work "Jersey Girl" Marzo reflects the 'dirty reality" of Waits' world with an honest portrayal of a journey down a dimly lit, one-way street called Love.

Perhaps one of Tom Waits most haunting songs comes from his twelfth and Grammy winning album "Mule Variations". The Grammy nominated Best Male Rock Performance track "Hold On" was the inspiration behind local playwright Matthew LaChiusa's "Its Cold And There's No Music". This ghost-story fueled by 2 am, loneliness, and Kentucky bourbon is masterfully told by actors John Kreuzer and Candice Kogut.

Basing his one act on Tom Waits song "Hell Broke Luce", playwright Matthew LaChiusa brings this chain-gang rhythmic song into life in the one-act "Luce". Featuring a PTSD barking Gary Andrews Stieglizt with direction by Nick Lama and under music directors Jack Kruezer and Phoebe Herreid orchestration, this piece is a driving, syncopated work reflective of the "call & response" found in American prison workgroups songs. See LaChiusa's work as well as the works of John F Kennedy, Jm Marzo, Bella Poynton and Ross McFarlane in The Rain Dogs Project.

Somewhere in between the low rumbling "word jazz" of Ken Nordine and the ragged reality of the Beat Poets lies Tom Waits' "What's He Building in There". What exactly that is remains a mystery, but for local playwright Bella Poynton's edgy yet humorous work of the same title that question is answered in a post-apocalyptic world. Directed by Nick Lama, and featuring the acting talent of Carly Luksch, Courtney Maj and Gary Andrews Steiglitz, "What's He Building In There" will put the revolution in dance.

Running from May 10th to May 26th, Thurs-Sat 8 pm showtimes, THE RAIN DOGS PROJECT features musical direction by Jack Kruezer and Phoebe Herreid. The production is jointly directed by Nick Lama & Catherine Burkhart and featuring choreography by Carly Luksch. THE RAIN DOG PROJECT will feature the ART/WNY acting debut of John Profeta; John Kreuzer; Carly Luksch, with alumni Gary Andrews-Stieglizt; (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) Courtney Maj (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) and Candice Kogut (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, THE UNDERPANTS, A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE, HELLO AGAIN).

THE RAIN DOGS PROJECT will be held at a new performance space location. Jim Bush Studios at 44 17 West Street, Buffalo NY 14213 (in Buffalo historical West Side). Tickets are $25 for special "bar" seating, $20 General; $15 Industry; $10 Student & Veterans
To order tickets online visit or call ART/WNY box-office 716-983-4345 (10 am to 1 pm Mon-Fri).

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